Barnard’s COO (Chief Operating Officer), Greg Brown, is heading down to Swarthmore after eight years serving on the west side of Broadway.
As the COO and formerly as the VP for Finance and Planning, he sponsored “Taking Care of Barnard” and in 2012 was named Administrator of the Year by SGA. The times, they are a-changin’.
“Still, there’s simply no getting around how much we will miss him. Since his arrival at Barnard in 2006, when he was hired by Judith Shapiro as VP for Finance and Planning, Greg has been the colleague, the right-hand, that every college president hopes to find. He has guided our finances and operations with skill and apparent ease, and has changed the way we do business, all for the better. In 2009, I promoted Greg to COO and, as such, he has overseen Finance, Human Resources, Campus Services (Facilities, Public Safety and Events Management), BCIT, and General Counsel. Each of these vital departments has benefited in countless ways from his expert leadership.”
Read the rest of the email after the jump.
To members of the Barnard Community —
I am writing to share news that can only be delivered with a very heavy heart. After 8 years of unparalleled service to Barnard, COO Greg Brown will be leaving the College as of April 4 to head to Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College. Beginning in June, he will be taking on a new role as Swarthmore’s vice president for finance and administration.
At Swarthmore, Greg will have the opportunity to bring his keen understanding of liberal arts institutions to a campus community that is poised for tremendous growth and change. If anyone knows the challenges that academic institutions face—financial, administrative, and otherwise—Greg does, and his proven track record in all aspects of running a college will be brought to bear at Swarthmore. Of course, he also has considerable expertise in managing the Barnard/Columbia relationship and this will certainly translate to Swarthmore’s tri-college consortium that includes Bryn Mawr and Haverford. The move is an exciting one for Greg, with a new setting and new problems to solve, and there’s no doubt that he will take it on with his signature level-headedness, intelligence, and commitment.
Still, there’s simply no getting around how much we will miss him. Since his arrival at Barnard in 2006, when he was hired by Judith Shapiro as VP for Finance and Planning, Greg has been the colleague, the right-hand, that every college president hopes to find. He has guided our finances and operations with skill and apparent ease, and has changed the way we do business, all for the better. In 2009, I promoted Greg to COO and, as such, he has overseen Finance, Human Resources, Campus Services (Facilities, Public Safety and Events Management), BCIT, and General Counsel. Each of these vital departments has benefited in countless ways from his expert leadership.
Among Greg’s stellar moments was his decision to move the management of Barnard’s endowment from the College to Investure. The results of this change are apparent in our robust endowment returns over the past five years, even in the aftermath of the 2008-09 market crash which brought with it one of Barnard’s toughest financial times. He implemented a streamlined system of financial reporting to the Board of Trustees, worked with the SGA to establish the Financial Advisory Council which looks at financial matters of interest to our students, and increased the overall transparency of Barnard’s financial operations. Our all-staff meetings won’t be the same without the touch of humor Greg brings to his clear and open presentations of the College’s dollars and cents.
Greg masterfully oversaw the financing and opening of The Diana Center, instituted significant improvements to our computing and administrative systems and, in his exceptional leadership of HR, greatly improved service and redesigned the administrators’ performance evaluation process. He led the 2012 academic space planning process and is currently chairing the campus-wide steering committee charged with the creation of our new academic building.
In fact, there are few, if any, areas of the College that have not benefitted from Greg’s efforts, and so many of you have had the good fortune to work closely and collaboratively with him. On the faculty side, he has regularly presented at faculty meetings, attended all meetings of the Faculty Budget and Planning Committee, and worked closely with the Faculty Finance and Resources Committee. On the staff side, he’s directed the all-staff meetings, which have become both informative sessions and community builders, and run the Joint Faculty and Administrators Benefits Committee. As for the Board, he’s been entrusted with some of its most important undertakings, especially with the workings of the Budget & Finance, Audit & Compliance, Investments, and Building, Environment & Technology committees. He gives an annual financial update to the alumnae Leadership Council, and for the students, Greg has held Town Hall meetings on the College’s finances and has periodically met with the SGA Executive Board and Rep Council. In appreciation for his efforts, the SGA named Greg the Administrator of the Year in 2012.
On a personal note, I’ve been extremely lucky to have Greg right across the hall. From day one of my presidency, he has been an invaluable font of knowledge, an honest and wise collaborator, and a true friend. Working with him has been an honor, a pleasure, and a great deal of fun, even under the most stressful of circumstances.
Of course, Greg wants to ensure the smoothest possible transition and will do all he can over the next few months to make this happen. He and I will be working closely with his direct reports during the transition period, and I will get back to you as plans evolve around how best to secure his successor.
Greg is treasured here at Barnard, not only for his considerable brainpower and abilities, but for his devotion to our entire community. We should consider ourselves very fortunate to have had his guidance and will find a time to come together to celebrate him before his departure.
Meanwhile, I know you will all join me in wishing Greg the very best.
Photo via Swarthmore